The ICONOCLAST sale on 25 May in Hong Kong features works by 16 artists born between 1969 and 1989, all of whom came of age during a period of unprecedented advances in technology that transformed the way we communicate and disseminate information. Uninhibited by national or cultural borders, their era-defining images are uncompromising, unbounded by traditional conventions, and created for a global audience.
At the forefront stands He Xiangyu, whose deflated leather Tank Project is based on a model T34 tank that was commonly found in the artist’s hometown of Dandong near the North Korean border. Despite its flattened appearance, the tank still has the power to intimidate, echoing the events in Tiananmen Square 30 years ago.
Others, like Jia Aili, are concerned with the profound isolation of the modern world. ‘The spirit has gradually lost its sense of belonging,’ the artist explains of Wasteland, depicting a figure wearing a Soviet-era gas mask.
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The same sense of dystopia is echoed in Filipino artist Ronald Ventura’s gothic picture Voids and Cages, where technology and the natural world are savagely pitted against one another.
Best known for meticulously recreating intricate floral patterns onto canvas, Liang Yuanwei makes oil paintings that shimmer with an intensity that reflects society’s obsession with order. Her painting Untitled 2013.17 was featured in the show The Tension between a Bow and an Elephant at Pace Gallery in 2014.
Other highlights of the sale include works by Wang Guangle, Yuan Yuan, KAWS, MADSAKI, David Chan, Natee Utarit, Duan Jianyu, Harold Ancart, Christine Ay Tjoe, Huang Yuxing, Xie Nanxing, and Tomoo Gokita (see below).
‘The curated selection of artists force us to reimagine what is possible, and to think outside of conventional labels,’ says Evelyn Lin, Head of the Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art department at Christie’s. ‘They were selected for the ways in which they break new artistic ground and reflect on a multitude of complex issues facing modern-day society. Their works are both rebellious and singular in nature, and their influence in shaping the art world will continue in the years to come.’